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Introduction

Communism (from Latin communis, 'common, universal') is a far-left sociopolitical, philosophical, and economic ideology and current within the socialist movement whose goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order centered around common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange—allocating products to everyone in the society. It also involves the absence of social classes, money, and the state. Communists often seek a voluntary state of self-governance, but disagree on the means to this end. This reflects a distinction between a more libertarian approach of communization, revolutionary spontaneity, and workers' self-management, and a more vanguardist or communist party-driven approach through the development of a constitutional socialist state followed by Friedrich Engels' withering away of the state.

Variants of communism have been developed throughout history, including anarcho-communism and Marxist schools of thought, among others. Communism includes a variety of schools of thought which broadly include Marxism, Leninism, and libertarian communism as well as the political ideologies grouped around both. All of these different ideologies share the analysis that the current order of society stems from capitalism, its economic system and mode of production, namely that in this system there are two major social classes, the relationship between these two classes is exploitative, and that this situation can only ultimately be resolved through a social revolution. The two classes are the proletariat (the working class), who make up the majority of the population within society and must work to survive, and the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class), a small minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. According to this analysis, revolution would put the working class in power and in turn, establish common ownership of property which is the primary element in the transformation of society towards a communist mode of production.

In the 20th century, ostensibly Communist governments espousing Marxism–Leninism and its variants came into power in parts of the world, first in the Soviet Union with the Russian Revolution of 1917, and then in portions of Eastern Europe, Asia, and a few other regions after World War II. Along with social democracy, communism became the dominant political tendency within the international socialist movement by the early 1920s. During most of the 20th century, around one-third of the world's population lived under communist governments. These governments were characterized by one-party rule and suppression of opposition and dissent. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, several communist governments repudiated or abolished communism altogether. Afterwards, only a small number of communist governments remained, namely China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam. While the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first nominally Communist state led to communism's widespread association with the Soviet economic model, several scholars posit that in practice, the model functioned as a form of state capitalism.

Public memory of 20th-century Communist states has been described as "a battleground" between the communist sympathetic political left and the anti-communist political right. Many authors have written about excess deaths under Communist states and mortality rates, such as excess mortality in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. (Full article...)

Selected article

Soviet stamp, celebrating 30th Anniversary of the Magazine "Problems of Peace and Socialism"
Problems of Peace and Socialism (Russian: Проблемы мира и социализма), often referred to by the name of its English-language edition World Marxist Review (WMR), was a joint theoretical and ideological magazine of communist and workers parties around the world. It existed for 32 years, until it closed down in June 1990. The offices of WMR were based in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Each edition of the magazine had a circulation of above half a million, being read in some 145 countries. At its height, WMR appeared in 41 languages, and editors from 69 communist parties around worked at its office in Prague. The master copy of the magazine was its Russian-language edition Problemy Mira i Sotsializma.

Selected biography

Portrait of Hồ Chí Minh ca. 1946
Hồ Chí Minh (19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969), born Nguyễn Sinh Cung, was a Vietnamese Marxist–Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister (1945–1955) and president (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). He was a key figure in the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, as well as the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the Vietcong during the Vietnam War until his death in 1969.

Hồ led the Việt Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the communist-governed Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at Điện Biên Phủ. He lost political power in 1955—when he was replaced as prime minister—but remained the highly visible figurehead of North Vietnam—through the presidency—until his death. The capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, after the Fall of Saigon, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor.

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Supporters of Communist Party of Argentina (Extraordinary Congress) at election meeting, 2009.

Photo credit: Mlavaque

Communism News

3 September 2022 – 2021–present global energy crisis
An estimated 70,000 people march in the Czech Republic's capital city Prague demanding that the government do more to control soaring energy prices in the country and voicing opposition to the country's involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian War. The demonstration was organized by political groups including the Communist Party. (Reuters)

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But it was necessary to put up a resistance to Martov. This task fell to Trotsky. "Now since the exodus of the Rights," concedes Sukhanov "his position is as strong as Martov's is weak." The opponents stand side by side in the tribune, hemmed in on all sides by a solid ring of excited delegates. "What has taken place," says Trotsky, "is an insurrection, not a conspiracy. An insurrection of the popular masses needs no justification, We have tempered and hardened the revolutionary energy of the Petersburg workers and soldiers. We have openly forged the will of the masses to insurrection, and not conspiracy. . . . Our insurrection has conquered, and now you propose to us: Renounce your victory; make a compromise. With whom? I ask: With whom ought we to make a compromise? With that pitiful handful who just went out? . . . Haven't we seen them through and through. There is no longer anybody in Russia who is for them. Are the millions of workers and peasants represented in this congress, whom they are ready now as always to turn over for a price to the mercies of the bourgeoisie, are they to enter a compromise with these men? No, a compromise is no good here. To those who have gone out, and to all who make like proposals, we must say, "You are pitiful isolated individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on into the rubbish-can of history!"
— Leon Trotsky (1879-1940)
History of the Russian Revolution , 1932

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